Wednesday, December 15, 2010

To Tell the Truth

In just over an hour, it'll be six years since I began writing this blog. I wrote my first entry on December 15th, 2004, sometime after 1:00 a.m. I generally wrote blog entries late at night or in the wee hours of the morning.
Did I do my best thinking then, I wonder, or was it just the last-bit-of-the-day's-escape for me?

If I look at the "log" of my blog posts, they were more plentiful a few years ago. As my life met with some curve balls, namely family illness, the writing often diminished -- and being the amateur analyst that I am, I always assumed that it was that I didn't want to tell the truth. I didn't want to reveal my deepest, darkest secrets or fears. I didn't want to capture some painful truths for eternity in blogland.

So my posts sometimes scratched at the surface; they didn't talk about "me", but rather generalities. But deep down, that has never satisfied me. I write. Writing is often my voice. I find that I generally can write streamofconsciousness-fashion, and it works for me. It is easier to vocalize on paper what one can't say in real life.  Thus, the fabulous, detailed and lengthy letters I've written all my life; thus the warm and personable letters of condolence I've always written.

A button is pushed, and the words simply come.

But to tell the truth, they don't any longer. My writing continues to be somewhat reserved and spotty, when it comes to keeping my blog. When I was younger, I kept countless journals over time. But I also became somewhat of a slave to the journal, thinking that if I didn't write about something one day, I'd lose it. So I forced myself to write. The writing also became somewhat sporadic as a result. The evening I got engaged is the last time I wrote in my journal.

I will talk about truth now. This is something I didn't write about in my blog, nor did I write about it in poems I've written since March 2009 -- when my father died. With his death came a slight sigh of relief -- for his sake, not ours . With his death came a great measure of gratitude -- for all the years that we did have with him, and all the fine memories we created together. And with his death came the pain of loss, the pain of watching loved ones contend with their loss, and learning to live my life without my father in it.

When my father was rushed to the hospital, where he remained unconscious for the week, until he took his last breath, I'd visit and see the changes in his body. Yes, he looked like he was sleeping, but with tubes in his nose and in his arms, and clear bags that were filling up with bodily fluids, it wasn't a normal sight.

My father's hands and feet swelled beyond belief. I would massage his hands and talk quietly to him in hope that he would hear what I was saying: that I hoped he was not in pain, that he was a wonderful father and such a fine person and that we were lucky to have him in our lives, that if it was his time to go, he should go.
I rested my hand on his chest, lifted his chubby hand and placed it on mine. It was a childish thing to do, but I did it because I wanted to feel as if it was he who had done it; as if it was he who was placing his hand on mine to comfort me.

I did that countless times throughout that week. Placing my hand on his chest and placing his hand over mine. To comfort me. To help me deal with this difficult time.

And when he took his last breath, I put my hand on his. To comfort him. To deal with this difficult time.

I kissed him. I thanked him.


I didn't cry. I always imagined I would scream in hysteria  (just like in a classic movie scene) when my father would die -- especially in a hospital bed, which is the last place he wanted to die. But I didn't cry. I was calm. I was reserved. I continued to comfort those around me. My niece. A nephew. A sister-in-law. My older brothers.

I didn't really comfort myself. I didn't cry. I wrote a simple but beautiful eulogy, which I read at the funeral. A few months later, I wrote and read a beautiful speech when the headstone was unveiled. And I have continued to write my poems. About my father. About his death.

I never believed I need to talk to a professional about my loss. I still don't. It isn't simply a brave front I've been putting up since his death -- because with all his hospitalizations for serious matters over the years, I've put up a front. I believe it's just an acceptance that I've been dealing with. I've handled it in a matter-of-fact fashion, yet at the back of my mind, I've always believed that something, at some point in time, will set me off. Crying. For that particular loss and all it entailed.

Back in late October, I went to a funeral; it was for the father of a distant friend. And as I listened to the eulogies given by the rabbi and a grandson, I recognized great similarities between that deceased man and my father. I felt weepy, but I didn't cry.

After the service, it is customary for the mourners and funeral attendees to follow the hearse holding the coffin for at least a few yards, sometimes to the main road. It is a sign of respect for the departed. I joined the throng of people and started to walk a few steps when I lost it. I rushed to the sidewalk  and with gasping breaths, struggled to compose myself; my husband, who'd been walking amidst the crowd, caught my eye and came back to be with me, and comfort me.

Yes, I felt sorry for that friend on her loss, but it wasn't her I was crying for. It was me. The tears had finally come. The tears for my father.

It was as if when I began to walk behind the hearse, that March 8, 2009 came rushing back at me. It was as if I was walking behind my father's hearse -- which is something we did not do that day at the funeral chapel, but something we did do at the cemetery before my father found his final resting place.

Yes, it was a release for me, and I guess I hadn't realized just how much I needed that cry. No, it didn't last long, but the dam had burst.

My husband understood what had happened and told me he was still so surprised how composed I'd remained all these months. I guess my poetry was a vehicle for reading between the lines and seeing invisible tears smudge the ink of the words.

Tears are telling. Words are telling.

Thank you for listening.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One Never Truly Grows Up

This nearly-300 page book is a funny, yet practical, guide showing moms and dads how to handle adult -- often sticky! -- situations with their grown kids.

You want to be a parent or you want to be a friend? Sometimes it's tough to be either one of those, and you simply play good cop, bad cop.

The book is written by bestselling comedy writer Gail Parent (The Tracey Ullman Show, The Carol Burnett Show, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, The Golden Girls) and psychotherapist Susan Ende. What do you get when you have a comedy writer and psychotherapist giving their advice? Funny/serious conflicts and funny/serious conflict resolutions!

These women advise parents in these areas: Money/ College Years/ Family Rituals, Holidays, Weddings and Divorce/Grandparenting/In-Laws. So many parenting books out in the market today deal with parenting babies, toddlers and teens; they don't go beyond that. Adult children these days have their own set of problems and parents are still parents, trying to help out their children. This book will help those parents along the way.

The book features real questions from real people, followed by Gail's and Susan's answers. Gail's answers are fun and edgy, filled with practical advice; Susan's answers are steeped in psychology and more serious. It's up to the parent reading the book to decide whose advice to follow -- if any.

"Mother Knows Best"/"Father Knows Best" are both familiar expressions. With this book in hand, and the advice given, Mother and Father really will know best.

Joan Rivers, Carol Burnett and Tracey Ullman praised the book, and so do I (if that counts for anything; after all, I am an adult child, too!)

Published by Hudson Street Press, a division of the Penguin Group, How To Raise Your (Adult) Children should be put on your bookshelf beside the family Bible and  the What To Expect... series of books!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

On a Day Like Today

I was feeling somewhat nostalgic and quickly just whipped off this poem...

On a Day Like Today

On a day like today --

a cool, overcast and damp fall day

my father would have been standing

alongside my mother

at the kitchen counter,

newspaper pages open and laid out,

paring knives handy,

a pot ready to be filled,

baskets of red juicy apples, handpicked, washed and waiting to be undressed.

Classical music would have played in the background –

Chopin always welcome in our home.

With paring knife in hand, he would have proceeded.

Slipping the tip under the apple’s skin, and peeling, round and round and round,

turning the fruit as he peeled off its red coat in one long strip.

One after another, the apples were left naked.

Cut and cored, seeded too,

then tossed into the pot to await their duty.

For an hour or two, my parents stood there,

 comfortable in the silence,

not needing to make conversation, just doing this task,

that was done many a Sunday in the fall in our home.

Applesauce. They would make applesauce.

Into the pot and onto the stove element went the apples.

On a low flame, for hours at a time, they were stirred, then they simmered.

A touch of sugar added to enhance the natural flavours.

Applesauce. They would make applesauce.

And when the apples had simmered and softened and cooled

they were jarred.

Jar upon jar. Lidded and labeled.

Placed in the basement refrigerator for

each time a jar was called upon,

a jar was needed.

I miss those days.

I miss their applesauce.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

At What Point Are We Considered Older?

"Everything old becomes new again."

I'd like to think that about myself, but I don't think it'll be happening anytime soon...unless I get Botox and color my hair and drop quite a number of pounds to get me looking like my teenage daughter does...which is how I once looked.

But this season, when I saw the fashions, I wondered exactly how many times/cycles I'd seen these same fads: faux fur; leopard prints; wedgie-heeled boots, etc. I didn't like those styles then -- whenever then was, whatever decades these styles appeared -- and I certainly don't like them now.

Am I old?

There was a time that I used to love getting the Toys 'r Us flyer to peruse through... once upon a time, I liked seeing what kinds of toys I'd have enjoyed having as a kid. Later on, I would look what I could buy my own three children. These days, I skip to the high tech toys in the flyer, gawk at the price, then recycle the flyer.

Am I old?

I couldn't understand when my dad retired and kept busy  in his later years by going grocery shopping with my mom. They'd examine the supermarket flyers, make lists, and then make an expedition of it, going from store to store to pick up the necessities. I'd always hear of the friends and acquaintances they met in these stores and caught up with. Was that the new social life for them? I'd wonder.

These days, I can't wait for my weekly flyers so that I can peruse the different deals at the stores, assemble my stock of coupons and head out -- usually with no cash, save some coinage, but lots of store credit cards.
I average about 2-3 hours on my multi-supermarket getaways, walking up and down the aisles, looking at the displays, discovering new sales...and basically frittering away valuable time that could be used for household chores. I often run into people I know, stand there catching up while my refrigerated and frozen goods start to thaw. (How many times have I had to go back to the frozen gefilte fish display and exchange a slowly-but-surely defrosting couple of loaves, for newly frozen ones?!)

Am I old?

I was thinking about it the other day and decided I've always been a bit of an "older soul." My nurturing and mothering instincts were evident when I was still quite young, always looking out for other people and worrying about them if they were hurting.

When I was around eight years old and again when I was twelve and thirteen, my family went to Jewish resorts, both in Southern Ontario and in the Catskills. What did I really enjoy doing? Playing shuffleboard! And in the Catskills, I'd go both to teen club and also to adult sing-a-longs that featured American standards geared to a middle-aged and aging population.

From the time I graduated university until about six years ago, I volunteered with a cataloging committee for Ontario Jewish Archives. I brought the average age down by a good thirty-five years. Always the youngest, enjoying doing this volunteer work with seniors.

I was gathered with friends today for a close and longtime girlfriend's 49th birthday. Talk quickly touched on our birthdays next year: our 50th. One friend who turned 50 this year assured us: "It's okay. It's really okay."

No, I have no problems with turning 50; I'm still young looking and think very young. It's just the energy levels and body that ain't what they used to be. But I'm ready to meet that half-century mark -- when I can look both back and ahead.

Will I still ask: Am I old? Or will I  state: "I'm not old. I'm simply....older! ....And lovin' it!"

Sunday, September 12, 2010

It's Not So Much About the Shul Service... it is about the memories.

I realized this Rosh Hashana while standing in shul that our memories of  Rosh Hashanahs and Yom Kippurs and Sukkots and Simchat Torahs are truly significant and help sustain us, embrace us and sometimes add to our praying.

As I listened to the shofar blowing, I thought of my dad in Gan Eden (I have absolutely no doubt in the world that he's way up there!) and thought of past services. I realized that it isn't so much about the praying that I was remembering, but rather what went on after shul.

I remembered families seeking each other out after services were over to gather up and head home. I'd walk down the stairs from the women's gallery and seek my father and brothers out. It was about the 25-minute walk home together, my arm enveloped under my father's arm, or in his coat pocket, and trying to walk with both my parents in one line on the narrow sidewalk. My brothers would be ahead or follow behind, chatting between themselves or other shul friends and family. The stopping off at a neighbor's to wish them a good Yom Tov and a good year. The reaching home and gathering round the table, my parents, brothers and myself, and eating the familiar and traditional foods each year. My father telling the story of standing on line for  a long period of time in the fish market to buy the chopped fish that he would make gefilte fish from. Eating the applesauce and compote or the baked apples that my parents would make a few days before the chag.

(We'd go apple picking, buy a couple bushels to store in the basement's cold cellar over the winter. And as Rosh Hashanah would near, my parents would stand at the counter and peel countless apples -- I was always amazed at my father's speed and ability to pare an apple skin in one long, extended strip. When I started helping them out in peeling apples, I would have finished peeling half an apple by the time that my father peeled three apples.)

It's that family togetherness, the minhagim and the brachot my parents bestowed upon one another and us children that I remember, that warm my heart, as I stand in shul, listen to the sounds of the shofar and pray for my voice/our voices to be heard.

Monday, September 06, 2010

We're Almost at the Finish Line...

So another year is coming to an end.

Has it been a good one for you? I sure hope so.

Was it a meaningful one for you? I sure hope so.

Did you make optimum choices that benefitted you/your family? I sure hope so.

Were simchas part of your social calendar? I sure hope so.

As we approach the new year, let me take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you who mark and celebrate Rosh Hashanah a most sweet, healthy and happy upcoming year: 5771. May you and your families bask in brachot/blessings that lift and carry you through the year. May shalom/peace surround you, Israel, and Jews the world over.

Shanah Tovah to my readers and fellow bloggers.
And as my dear father always said, "May we able to wish each other the same again next year!"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Memories of High Holidays Past...

As the new Communications Chair for our synagogue, it is my duty to assemble the quarterly bulletin that goes out to shul members.

Of course, all the typical items go in: rabbi's message, mazel tovs and condolences, upcoming events, times and dates of the upcoming holidays, and any other important stuff.

I thought it might be nice for the members to contribute to this upcoming issue, and sent out a notice for members to submit memories they have of the High Holidays (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah) they experienced while growing up.

Unfortunately, there haven't been too many takers, but most of the memories already submitted  are associated with wearing new clothes, family togetherness at synagogue and at the meals, long, drawn-out services.

If I had sent out the call to you, what -- if any -- memories do you have from your distant past, or even not-too-distant past of marking/celebrating the High Holidays in your childhood or teenagehood?

Maybe I'll have more takers via the Internet.... :)

(I will share my memories perhaps in a separate post.)

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Fractured Travel Tales

Yes, I'll admit it's been a LONG WHILE since I last blogged. Of course I'm busy reading everyone else's words, but I couldn't seem to find any of my own for blog posts. But I'm back -- in blogland, in my city and in my country.

The past two weeks were spent in the States on the West Coast, on a fly-drive vacation with my hubby and three kids and multiple suitcases.

Travel tip #1: DON'T OVERPACK!!! TRAVEL LIGHT. TRY FOR JUST CARRYON LUGGAGE. I failed on all three counts. In fact, each of us failed on all three counts...thanks to my supposedly wise mom advice. I was wrong, I admit it. Okay, so let's try this trip again, and do it the right way.

Travel tip #2: Bring along your GPS if you're planning a driving or even a walking holiday. We brought along "Kate", our female, English-accented GPS. Now, some women aren't ALWAYS right, and Kate falls into this category, but for the most part, she got us where we had to go, even if she did sometimes prefer to take the scenic route.

Sorry, people, I'm not accustomed to paying for checking in baggage, nor am I accustomed to being denied any snacks on a flight, so these were an eye-opener for me. Or maybe it's just American Airlines pulling that shtick these days...

I was off to a good start (read in sarcastic voice) at the Toronto airport, when I was stopped after my carryon bag went through the X-ray machine. ZIP open went the bag, TOSS out went the jar of Pond's skin care cream, the bottle of hair spritz, and the bottle of face spritz. Okay, so maybe I don't travel often enough and I don't know the ground rules of flying with teeny tiny bottles of toiletries....

Speaking of which, how do I really know that those teeny tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner or body lotion given to guests in hotel rooms are what they say they are? How do I know that the green, pleasant-smelling stuff coming out of that teeny tiny bottle isn't simply some soap blend that they don't sell in Canada? Am I lathering up my precious locks with soap or shampoo? And who gets to fill those bottles -- or refill the partially used bottles -- in those family-friendly, businessman-friendly or simply luxe hotels? We sampled at least one of each of those types of hotels. The best toiletries were in the family-friendly hotels, hands-down.

So our itinerary consisted of these main locations: Los Angeles, Monterey, San Francisco, Sequoia National Park, Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon* ( a story in itself), Phoenix. My husband drove over 2200 miles in 16 days to get us where we had to go. He did a mighty fine job, along with Kate coming between me and him in the front seat.

Some observations:

--there are a TON of very overweight people in the U.S.; they don't seem to care how they look
--there are a ton of tattooed people in the U.S.; they don't seem to care how they look
--it seems that the more overweight a person is, the more tattoos they have -- but then again, I guess there's a correlation in that statement: there's more skin to work with if a person is more overweight!
--Israelis are EVERYWHERE; Hebrew is commonly heard in outlet malls, specifically in mall kiosks selling healthcare/beautycare products. I had conversations with several of these Israeli salespeople, who were pleasantly pleased when I started conversations in Hebrew with them
--I didn't have to do any real conversion calculations this trip, as the Canadian dollar is quite close to the U.S. dollar. Years ago, I'd have to stand there and round out numbers and figure out numbers and see if a purchase was worth it.
--Before planning a 4 1/2 hour drive to Grand Canyon, be advised when "monsoon season" is. Our visit was rained out -- make that "STORMED OUT" -- by the time we reached the park, so we turned around without even seeing it. Instead we simply settled for an IMAX film of the Grand Canyon a couple miles down the road

Travel tip #3: Make sure you know how to operate a videocamera for optimum use; don't just point and shoot. Focus, shift, close-up, pan. Do this before day 14 of your 16-day trip.

Travel tip #4: Be certain to bring along chargers for videocamera, all digital cameras and personal computer. Oh ya, and replacement batteries do help.

I'll throw out at you some things we saw and did:
--Warner Bros. studio tour
--Hollywood Blvd./Walk of Fame
--Skirball Museum
--Venice Beach/boardwalk
--Rodeo Drive
--Cannery Wharf , Monterey
--Aquarium, Monterey
--Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco
--Golden Gate Bridge
-- tour of Alcatraz Island
-- Chinatown, San Francisco
--lots of uphill and downhill climbs in San Francisco, on foot and in our rental
--Sequoia National Park, General Sherman tree viewing
--Las Vegas lights
--Hoover Dam
--Car Collection, Imperial Palace
--waterfall at Bellagio
--so close to, yet so far from Grand Canyon
--Phoenix Diamondbacks baseball game

Overall, wonderful memories were formed. Wonderful photos and videos (okay, wonderful videos once I learned to properly use the camera!) were taken. Great food was sampled. Fabulous hotel mattresses were slept on. Many majestically beautiful sights were viewed, and then again, some bizarre people/characters were seen!

Great family time was had. And that's what made it the most special.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Poetry in Photos

If it is said that a picture is worth a thousand words,
Where does that leave a wall covered in picture frames of every shape and size...?
Just like the people within the frames.
Young, old, smiling, serious.

Each face tells a story.
Each story touches a heart.

That heart was my father's.

It is these photos he saw both day and night --
When he first opened his eyes in the morning
And when he closed them at night.

It was his wall of naches, his wall of pride.

The generations before him.
The generations after him.
A life well lived.

I looked at that wall today.
The wall between the bed and the dresser,
also covered in frames of every shape and size.

The wall was full.

The bed was empty.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Poem Written in August 1993

I just found this poem I wrote on Friday, August 27, 1993. (at that point, I was officially engaged for 5 days!)
When I read old poems of mine, I pretty much recall having written them and what was going on at the time. If I recall correctly, this scene took place at a subway or bus station.

She wore one pink shoe,
She wore one white shoe --
She was blind.
I knew. I could tell --
She had a white cane.
She clicked around,
looking for an opening
 to go through.

Click, click. Tap, tap.
Bang, bang --

A tall blonde approached,
leaned close,
whispered some words.

An arm was extended.
A hand held on.
And they set off.
Click, click. Tap, tap.
A pink shoe
And a white shoe --

Almost a Slip of the Tongue

I was listening to my younger son practice guitar just now; he recently started lessons and is a quick study in this instrument...thanks to his wonderful memory and an ear for music.

He was trying to figure out a correct starting note and said: "Just a sec."

I was just about to open my mouth and say something and it suddenly hit me just how that something would have sounded: "I have all the secs in the world."

Sometimes it pays to keep your mouth shut!

Monday, May 17, 2010


Today I sat at the kitchen table
in front of the black microwave
watching the glass plate within
go round and round.

Three minutes wasn't enough
for the heat to absorb.
I topped it up to six
and watched the glass plate within
go round and round
on the turntable.

I realized I ought to get a life.

To sit and stare at melting wax
in a container on a plate
is no way to discover the world.

I ought to get out and ride the carousel of life.
Pick a colorful horse
or a unicorn
upon which to seat myself
and go round and round
as the sights blur into an ever-changing

Perhaps my horse, like Mary Poppins',
will have a mind of its own,
and will jump off the carousel
to explore the countryside,
bobbing up and down
in a delightful rhythm.

I ought to get out and ride the carousel of life.

(...but in the meantime, I'll just write a poem.)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Film and Other Stuff

I watched a wonderful, brilliantly acted film tonight on TV -- The Soloist -- starring Jaime Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr. It was released last year at the theaters, and I watched it on a movie channel.

Interestingly enough, just before the movie began, I'd watched Mr. Foxx on American Idol do his mentoring. When the show was over, I channel surfed and came across this wonderful film.

Read about it over here, and rent it if you can. It bridges the topics of friendship, music, talent, mental illness. Wow, what a combination.

AND it's based on a true story.

I did volunteering with mentally challenged adults for several years, and see that mental disabilities come in varying degrees. That was something to keep in mind as I watched this film and saw, not only the Jaime Foxx character, but the secondary characters as well.

The truth is that one never knows what impact one can have on someone else's life...and such is an underlying message to this movie...on both male protagonists' parts.


Something "funny" that I observed today in the supermarket...

A young man walked in. Clearly he was mentally challenged, and began walking through the produce aisles calling, "Stella...Stella." He was looking up and down the aisles, and as he walked away calling the name, I wondered if perhaps I should go and speak to him and ask him who Stella was and if I could help him find her.

At that point, I heard that familiar Marlon Brando-esque yell: "STELLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA..."

Apparently, this man eventually found Stella in another aisle, and they were cajoling with one another, and then later on meeting up with a larger group of young adults.

He found his Stella and I found my smile!

Sunday, May 09, 2010


This is my 1068th post, since I began the blog in December 2004.

It's not as if I have much to say this evening, but I liked the idea of writing a 1068th post. What the heck did I have to talk about in the previous 1067 posts, I wonder?

Every now and again -- less seldom these days -- I review my earliest posts. It's interesting to see if and how my writing has evolved; what caught my interest...say in May opposed to May 2009; which bloggers responded to my posts in the early days (very few) and who comments now (very few).

I used to blog about not having comments; someone advised me to just keep writing, and they (readers) will come, read and post. Or I was told to comment on other peoples' blogs, and in doing so, people would see my name and perhaps be curious to visit my blog on a sporadic or regular basis... and thus my blog developed.

I write blog posts less frequently these days; I read fewer blogs these days. My interests in reading blogs remains the same: personal stories, family dynamics, medical issues, a typical day in the life of a suburban mom or dad, entertainment trivia, household hints, recipes from the kitchen, religious personal quests. I've never been keen on politics or too taken with current events and religious battles.

Humorous blogs still grab me and sustain me. One recognizes that it's not just a blog post that has humor shine through, but often enough, the volleying of comments that follow are equally...if not more...humorous than the post itself.

I'm hoping that my next blog post -- #1069  -- might offer something more meaty than just my rambling thoughts...but then again, aren't "my rambling thoughts" the basis of pearlies of wisdom after all...?

Monday, May 03, 2010


I'm notorious for entering contests...and yes, winning. Not huge prizes, but prizes nonetheless...most often books. I'd love to win a contest based on my talent or my logic and abilities, but I'll take anything. :)

I was just going to enter a contest: SPRING WARDROBE SHOPPING SPREE. I could win one of five $2000 spring wardrobe shopping sprees.

Then I read the fine print: I can enter online until July 2nd, or I can enter by snail mail and the envelope must be postmarked by July 13th. The draw will be held July 15.

HELLO...? The contest is called "Spring Wardrobe Shopping Spree" and the draw date is July 15th. Is that spring...have the seasons been switched around on me?

Come July 15th, I'd be shopping for "back to school/fall" fashions, or snatching up summer finery, which tends to be pushed out the doors of stores and into the mall sidewalk sales, the second week of July.

Will I buy my "spring bonnet" in mid-July? I don't think so.

Hey, Robin Hood company, what were your marketing copywriters thinking of when they planned this contest? Why not just call it "New Wardrobe Shopping Spree" if these are the cut-off dates of the contest?

Nonetheless, I think that on July 15th, my name ought to be drawn and deemed a winner, considering my deep introspection about this contest.

Okay, and if you want me to plant some "spring" flowers to enhance the "spring" wardrobe I'll pick out for be it!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Several years back a fellow blogger threw out a term in private correspondence with me: a man chair/a man bench. This is where he said he could be found when he'd go shopping with his wife...and I don't mean grocery shopping.

When said blogger took a trip down South and his wife decided to hit the shopping malls and discount stores when they reached their destination, he grew tired...and kept a look-out for the familiar "man chair/man bench".

Go to the mall and look around; you see sitting areas? Who is sitting in those areas often? Yup, uh-huh, you got that right! Go into a large department store, specifically to the shoe department. You see that middle-aged man sitting on the chair, holding shopping bags? No, he's not trying on shoes today. He's waiting for his wife and is sitting in a "man chair."

The "man chair/man bench" is not wholly designed for seniors, as one might think. It is an official rest stop for the male persuasion of every shape, color, size or age. I believe many shopping mall designers are men, and when they work out layouts of stores and the mall hallways, they actually should add to their layout map legends little stars that direct you to "man chairs" in the mall. In a store, you're left to fend for yourself, though!

Why do I bring this up now? Well, for the past couple of weeks, I've been frequenting home improvement stores -- Rona, Canadian Tire, Home Depot and Lowe's. (you Americans are probably only famliar with Lowe's, if that) When I have gone on my own in the daytime, I've had a mission. But when I've gone in the evening or on the weekend with my husband, I'm the sidecar passenger, and he's the navigator, knowing what he wants to look at, where it can be found...and usually it's more technical than pretty.

Last weekend we went together to one of these stores; there was an advertised display of bar-b-ques. Ron said to me, "Take a look at who is looking at the doubt it's all men." And it was! No doubt these men were visualizing a cold beer in their hand, a couple of steaks on the grill and some loud get-togethers with buddies. Okay, where were their women during this creative visualization session? Inside the store? Where inside the store? The bathroom...or at the cash register paying for their man's whims?

Well, here's my deMANd! If men are entitled to a "man chair/man bench" in female-frequented places, I think that women are entitled to...a lot more! male-frequented places. We don't need a simple chair, we need a kaffee klatch/spa area. C'mon, especially in these home improvement centers! If they can sell indoor Jacuzzis and fancy tubs, let them set up a user-friendly one in a far corner of the store; if they can sell housewares and have kitchen layout designs to look at in the store, let them set up some chairs at a kitchen counter with a coffee machine, and juice maker, and have a male wait on us, bringing us refreshments. A spa service with pedicure/manicure/mini massages (mini, depending on how long your male partner is hanging around the store!) would be ideal too.

I looked around the stores I was in: these "little" items are lacking...and as a result, the female population in these stores is lacking. I believe that if my deMANds would be met, women would be happier, and if the women are happier, the men would be happier too!

Oh, and one more demand: maybe one of those men who was visualizing while standing in front of the bar-b-ques, can actually prepare a steak for me. But hold back on the beer, and make mine a white wine spritzer!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Never Tell Our Business to Strangers...A Memoir

What a catchy title, huh?

In spite of the fact that my parents used to imply I do the same thing -- and not broadcast everything going on in the Adler home -- this memoir is not about me or written by me, but rather, by Jennifer Mascia, a writer for the New York Times.  Jennifer seeks out and shares the story of her life with her parents: a life based on secrets, lies, and even forgiveness. The writing is raw and honest, the feelings depicted seem immediate and within reach.

California, New York, Miami, New York were all "home" to Jennifer...for brief periods of time. She was on the move, because her parents were on the move. Money was abundant, then money was scarce. Jobs were abundant, then jobs were scarce.

When Jennifer was a little girl, the FBI came for her father; he was away from her for quite some time, and then the questions began for her: Where was he? Why was he away from her? And as she grew up, the question became Who is he? And ultimately was followed by a question about her mother: Who is she?

Slowly the truth about her parents trickles out, and Jennifer must confront her family's dark secrets...

Back in 2007, Jennifer wrote a wonderful essay for the New York Times about her past; this past evolved into the book.

Watch this interview on YouTube, as well...

I'm not exactly holding a gun to your head, but I strongly advise you to pick up this memoir; it is published by Villard Books, a division of Random House.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Blog Post Revisited... honor of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day.

My life has always been entangled with the Holocaust, and as a result, so has much of my poetry.

I just recalled a poem I wrote a few years back. It is a poem in progress, and although it's never been completed, it is time to bring it back up for air today --

--the official Holocaust Memorial Day.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Last week I updated my status comment on Facebook. It was about smart vs. clever.

The status read: It's nice to be called "smart" but for some reason I really like it when I'm called "clever."

Some people may not see a difference between the two adjectives, but there least for me.

Smart is intelligence, IQ matter. Seemingly black and white.

Clever goes a lot further, I believe. It adapts itself to creativity, problem solving, finding solutions. It deals more with gray matter, reading between the lines, sudden spurts of brilliance that are emitted.

One of my friends commented about my Facebook status. He said, "How 'bout beautiful and sexy?"

Believe it or not, I still think that "clever" can go a lot further than "beautiful and sexy."

But if you wish, you can call me, "beautiful, sexy, AND clever"!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Published Again

The Canadian Jewish News is a weekly newspaper that caters guessed it...the Canadian Jewish community. Each Passover issue features a literary supplement, and as long as I've been submitting my poetry, it's been published.

This year I submitted two personal poems (whatever is submitted has to have a Jewish bent to it -- DUH!) and both will appear in this week's print edition, and is also online.

One poem is about my husband, and what happened when he lost his mother. The other poem is about my father: simply about the man he was.

If you click on the title of this post, you can link to the online edition of the newspaper. There you should find my two poems on pages B2 and B12.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Mom Poem

It's true that my youngest turned ten years old
a couple of weeks ago
It would have been ideal
To celebrate that weekend
But we had way too much on the go.

So tonight's the night we are doin' our thing
to help Noam be a ten year old boy
We've invited to our house
some nine of his peers
To have a sleepover here, oh joy!

Am I a good mom or simply a nut
To let Noam's crew hang out with us
With Passover 'round the corner
There's so much to do
But for Noam we made no fuss.

So I'll vacuum again tomorrow mid-morn
when the kids all pick up and go
Pillows packed away,
the sleeping bags gone
At least Noam will be happy, you know.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

More Photos for Your Viewing Pleasure

Contact sheet, character study of Jacob Adler, circa 1986

Contact sheet, character study of Jacob Adler, circa 1986

Circa 1986, "Faith"

Kensington Market, Toronto, circa 1987, old-time Jewish butcher (not Kosher anymore)

Monday, March 01, 2010

Adler-Saban Gallery Is Now Open For Viewing

My mom brought over a bag yesterday of photos I'd taken when I'd gone back to school in 1986 and did a Book & Magazine Publishing program. I learned photo techniques as well as blackroom and developing techniques.

I loved photography and the manual camera. Ask me today if I recall how to use one, though!

Imagine when you talk to a dog and he cocks his head sideways in a puzzled manner. That is how I viewed the world through my viewfinder...always with offbeat angles and unique views.

Photojournalism is wonderful, and no doubt I should have pursued it a bit more -- for  pleasure.

Kensington Market, Toronto, circa 1987, "What a hunk!"

Downtown Toronto, circa 1987, "Synchronicity"

                                                                  Downtown Toronto, circa 1987, "Alleyway Cast-Offs"

Chinatown, Spadina Avenue, downtown Toronto, circa 1987

Circa 1987, my father, Jacob Adler, z"l, and a photo of his grandparents

A sample book cover I designed for my photography course, 1987

A reflection shot, downtown Toronto, 1987

Another reflection shot, downtown Toronto, 1987

Another reflection shot, downtown Toronto, 1987

Another reflection shot, interior, downtown Toronto, 1987

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Speaker Has the Floor

This past Friday, the 12th of Adar in the Jewish calendar, marked the 1st Yahrzeit for my father, who died on March 8, 2009.

This coming Thursday, the 18th of Adar, will mark the 20th Yahrzeit for my husband's father.

So on Shabbat we sponsored a kiddush at shul, and my family was with us for all of Shabbat, and at seudat shlishit, I spoke.

If you're willing to sit back with a stiff drink (it IS somewhat lengthy) and read, here it is:

D’var Torah for 1st Yahrzeit for Dad and 20th Yahrzeit for Ron’s Father

Parsha Tetzaveh

Thank you for being here this afternoon, to help us commemorate the just past and upcoming Yahrzeits of my father and Ron’s father, zichronam l’vracha.

This week’s parsha, Tetsaveh, talks about the lighting of the menorah and the oil that was used; it talks in detail about the special clothing worn by the kohanim, specifically Ahron the Kohen haGadol, and discusses the inauguration service of the mishkan and the kohanim, as well as the incense altar.

At the beginning of the parsha, Hashem gives detailed instructions about the lighting of the oil in the menorah. As Purim begins tonight, I want to point out a few similarities between the chag and the parsha.

The main character in the Purim story is Queen Esther; her gematria is 661. A phrase in the parsha with the same gematria is meaning “oil for the light”. Just as the menorah was a source of light for the Israelites, so, too, did Esther provide a spark of light for the Jews, as written in the megillah and as we recite every Motzei Shabbos at Havdala “The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor.”

The story of Purim talks about the king’s public party – and as noted in the megillah, the celebration had every luxury – the finest cotton, wool, and linen wall hangings, couches of gold and silver, silver rods, marble pillars and royal wine. Likewise in the parsha, we learn that the clothing of the Kohein Hagadol was very rich, made from turquoise, gold, purple, twisted linen and beautiful stones.

A major theme in both the parsha and in megillat Esther is clothing. The portion of Tetzaveh details the clothing worn by the Kohein Hagadol in ancient times, which, as the text explains, he is to wear “l’chavod u’letifahret,” for glory and honor. Rashi and other commentators explain these words to mean that by wearing the special garments, the Kohein Hagadol is distinguished from other people and his clothing brings glory and honor to Hashem. How so? By dressing in clothes made of gold and precious threads, and wearing a breastplate encrusted with jewels, the Kohein Hagadol comes to symbolize things which are rare and coveted, things which are special–he symbolizes the special and intimate relationship between Hashem and the Jewish people.

Our Purim celebrations, of course, also include costuming–but this time everyone gets in on the act, and the dressing up is not necessarily for the purpose of bringing honor and glory to Hashem. Rather, it is an expression of the spirit of Purim summarized in the words of the Megillah, “v’nahafoch hu,” things were reversed. Just as the fortune of the Jews was reversed and Mordechai took the place of Haman, so too commoners dress as royalty, and royalty dress as commoners on Purim.

Esther puts on her royal garb to go meet the king. Mordechai dons sackcloth and ashes when he hears of Haman’s plot. Haman parades Mordechai through town wearing beautiful garments and a jeweled hat. These are more than just interesting details; they are part of the message of the story, that outward appearances do in fact matter, as much as we tell ourselves otherwise. Clothing is part of the language of society. Our fashion communicates a great deal about our values, priorities, and identity. As both the Torah portion and megillat Esther might say, The clothes do in fact make the man or woman.

This week’s parsha is the only book of the chamisha chumshei Torah after Moshe’s birth that does not mention his name.

And the 'Megilla' is the only book of the Bible (after Bereshit) that does not mention Hashem’s name.

This week’s parsha opens with an eternal commandment; lighting the Menora forever.

Similarly reading the Megilla is an eternal commandment!!

Finally, this week's section deals with the Temple, which is never-ending. (Moshiach will build the Third Temple)

And the Megilla deals with Purim, which is also never-ending.

In the last Aliyah of Parshat Tetzaveh we read about the commandment to build the incense altar for the Mishkan. The mystics explain that the five primary vessels of the Mishkan correspond to the five senses. The sacrificial altar corresponds to the sense of touch (the sacrifices being a very physical service). The Shulchon, where the 12 loaves were placed each Shabbos, alludes to the sense of taste. The Menorah which gave illumination is like the sense of sight. Hashem spoke to Moshe from between the Keruvim above the Ark representing the sense of sound. Finally the incense altar reflects the sense of smell.

The sense of smell is different from the other 4. Whereas the other senses are considered physical and bodily (each to a differing degree), the sense of smell is ethereal and more intimately related to the soul. The Talmud teaches that only the Neshama benefits from fragrant spices (which is why we smell spices during Havdalah). The sense of smell represents the essential purity of the soul which cannot be corrupted no matter how severe our sins may be. For this reason the burning of the incense was the highest of the Temple services and it is for this reason that the incense altar stands alone.

Here lies the Purim connection. The master Kabbalist - the Ariza"l, connected each of the 12 months of the year to a different part of the head. The month of Adar equates to the nose i.e. the sense of smell. The heroes of the Purim story, Mordechai and Esther, are also connected to the sense of smell. Esther's real name was Haddassa which means a myrtle, known for its fragrance. The Talmud finds allusion to Mordechai in the Torah in the pure myrrh (one of the 11 spices in the incense) which is translated in the Aramaic Targum as Mara Dachya (the same letters as the name Mordechai).

And of course another connection between Purim and this Shabbos, is that we read the section Parshat Zachor in which we are commanded to remember Amalek and what he did to the Jewish people. Haman, a descendant, is the Amalek of his generation in the Purim story.

Tetzaveh's opening words are V'atah tetzaveh -- "and you shall command." The you is Moshe and Hashem is telling him what to instruct the Jewish people. But the verse only says "you" -- not "Moshe."

In this week’s parsha, Moshe’s name isn’t mentioned at all. The main reason for this is well-known and related to the sin of the Golden Calf. The people had sinned and G d was going to wipe them out and start over again with Moshe and his own dynasty. Moshe defended his people before Hashem, arguing for their forgiveness. And if Hashem wouldn’t forgive them? Moshe stated: “Micheini noh misifrecho” -- "Erase me from your book that You have written!" Moshe himself said his name should be erased from the Torah if Hashem would not forgive His people. So even though Hashem did forgive them, it is believed that the words of a tzaddik are eternal and said to come true. The effect of those words, therefore, was that somewhere in the Book, in Torah, his name would be erased. Moshe would be missing where he normally should have appeared. Ironically it is in the week when we remember his death, that Moshe’s name is missing.

Chassidim claim that this word “You” in the parsha’s opening pasuk represents something deeper and more profound than a simple name can. “You” represents Moshe’s neshama and spiritual essence of being firmly and continually committed to his people, even at his own expense. The Chassidim believe that instead of the absence being a negative, it is actually a blessing.

The Vilna Gaon explains that Moshe's yahrtzeit, the seventh of Adar, usually falls the week of or just before Parshat Tetzaveh. Moshe’s name is omitted to show that he is no longer with us, his physical presence has gone, although the essence of his teachings are the lifeblood of our nation to this day.

But his name is alluded to in the parsha in the sofei tevot – final letters – of the phrase “sealed Holy to Hashem”. There’s a mem sofit, shin and hey.

This shows us that, even though the physical embodiment of Moshe has left us, his neshama, revealed in the Torah, is very much with us even now.

In this same way, the neshamas of our fathers, Yaakov Arieh Adler and Shalom Saban, zichronum l’vracha, are with us now.

It is said, “Mishenichnas Adar, marbim b'simchah.” “With the beginning of Adar, rejoicing is increased.”

Interestingly enough, life doesn’t always work that way. Yesterday, the 12th of Adar, we marked my father --- Jacob’s -- first Yahrzeit; we will mark Ron’s father – Shalom’s -- 20th Yahrzeit next week, on the 18th of Adar. As well, my father’s father – Majer Izchok -- passed away when my father was 6 ½ years old, and his Yahrzeit was earlier this week, on the 7th of Adar…like Moshe.

The month of Adar in the Adler-Saban households has unfortunately come to be associated with a loss of fathers.

My father had no father for 82 years. Yet he remembered and annually marked his father’s Yahrzeit. I always wondered how he could do so from the time he was a young child and suddenly cast as the male head of the household, a big brother to three younger sisters, the youngest sister named for their father, who had died two months before her birth. For 82 years my father remembered and lit a candle, and if his difficult circumstances during the war and his lifetime didn’t allow him to light a candle, he marked the date by simply remembering.

Today is Shabbat Zachor. We are required to remember what Amalek did to us, as we learn in the reading of the maftir and Haftorah. But Ron and I have our personal Shabbat Zachor, related to our family members who have left us. We remember and we sanctify their memories by lighting a candle, by saying Kaddish, by giving Tzedaka, by learning some Torah and by remembering who and what they were.

Both Ron’s father and my father were immigrants to Canada – a new language and culture to learn, jobs to find, in Ron’s father’s case, a family to support; in my father’s case, a wife to find and a family life to build. Ron’s father left behind family; my father left behind memories and ashes. But both men endured in Canada and worked hard to provide for themselves and those around them.

They never forgot their Judaism, embracing it in this cold Canadian climate with a warm heart.

Ron’s father built the aron kodesh in their shul in Winnipeg, a labour of love, a beautiful work to be proud of as it was viewed and admired daily, housing the precious Torah scrolls of Kehillat Chevura Tefilla. Although I never had the privilege of meeting him, I know that through Shalom Saban’s commitment to prayer and community and hard work, he tried to teach his sons by example: how to be kind, good, honest – in personal relationships and in business. These traits are clearly evident in Ron, and so I thank Shalom and his wife, Liora, zichronam l’vracha, for their guidance and the Torah and personal values that they passed along.

I am familiar with Ron’s father’s carpentery– the detail he carved into table tops and table and chair legs, the cabinetry he designed and built, the chessboards he carved for his family and the jewellery boxes he created. This fine and detailed handiwork reflects his skill, his patience and his finesse in doing a job to the best of his ability -- and what an ability it was!

Both Ron’s father and my father worked hard and struggled financially to give their children extensive Jewish educations, following the precept from Mishlei: Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Our fathers built their family life and daily life around davening and giving Tzedakah, around shmirat lashon and hachnasat orchim. They valued strong work ethics, Shalom Bayit, and were true to their word above all else.

It is perhaps ironic that my father, Jacob’s, shul affiliation and membership, was with Beth Jacob, Beit Yaakov. He welcomed being there and this Levi was made to feel very welcome there, as well. Not only was there a Beit Yaakov on Overbrook Place in Bathurst Manor, but there was one at the address where my parents settled over 50 years ago to create a home and raise their family, and never left. Just like in our shul, faith, guidance, tradition, warmth – and love – were the pillars of our home.

Clearly it is a true kavod when told, “I never heard your father say a bad word about anyone,” and I was told that a few years ago while my father was alive! And I know that my father helped people – financially and otherwise -- throughout his lifetime. His goodness tended to be selfless – he didn’t think, he didn’t question, he just did. And he didn’t seek recognition or rewards.

I believe that when my father left the physical world on 12th of Adar last year, he clearly entered the spiritual world; there he continues to daven for the well-being of his wife, children and grandchildren, family, friends and community. For that was the type of man Jacob Adler was: always concerned for others, looking out for everyone else before looking out for himself, if at all.

Somewhere in that spiritual world, Jacob made the acquaintance of Ron’s father, Shalom, and was reunited with Liora, Ron’s mother. No doubt he has shared with them stories of the hurdles he faced in life, the challenges he overcame, and the home life and family he built, a family that bridged with the Saban family, and whose legacy proudly continues…

Thank you, Shabbat Shalom, and I wish you all a freliche Purim.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Purim is Upon Us... (almost!)

I put my post on the wrong blog...but maybe it's okay, 'cause it's also the right blog.

So click this link to see my Purim post.

Have a freiliche Purim, everyone!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I received this today in an email:

Apparently this is a standard procedure all paramedics follow at the scene of an accident when they come across your cell phone.

ICE - 'In Case of Emergency'

We all carry our mobile phones with names & numbers stored in its memory but nobody, other than ourselves, knows which of these numbers belong to our closest family or friends.

If we were to be involved in an accident or were taken ill, the people attending us would have our mobile phone but wouldn't know who to call. Yes, there are hundreds of numbers stored but which one is the contact person in case of an emergency? Hence this 'ICE' (In Case of Emergency) Campaign the concept of 'ICE' is catching on quickly. It is a method of contact during emergency situations. As cell(mobile) phones are carried by the majority of the population, all you need to do is store the number of a contact person or persons who should be contacted during emergency under the name 'ICE' ( In Case Of Emergency).

The idea was thought up by a paramedic who found that when he went to the scenes of accidents, there were always mobile phones with patients, but they didn't know which number to call. He therefore thought that it would be a good idea if there was a nationally recognized name for this purpose. In an emergency situation, Emergency Service personnel and hospital Staff would be able to quickly contact the right person by simply dialing the number you have stored as 'ICE.'

For more than one contact name simply enter ICE1, ICE2 and ICE3 etc. A great idea that will make a difference!

Let's spread the concept of ICE by storing an ICE number in our Mobile phones today!

Please forward this. It won't take too many 'forwards' before everybody will know about this. It really could save your life, or put a loved one's mind at rest. ICE will speak for you when you are not able to.

Dear Lord

I received this email today:

Dear Lord

This last year you took away my favorite singer,


my favorite actor,


and my favorite actress,


Let me remind you

that my favorite politician is


Please don't forget!

Thank you very much!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Slogan City

Over the year, have ad slogans or commercial not caught your eye or ear? You think them to be catchy or simply weird.

For years I've had a particular pet peeve about this first slogan. The other slogans also make me wonder...


--"We try harder." THAN WHAT?!

--"Let your fingers do the walking." DOES THAT NOT SOUND JUST A TOUCH KINKY?

-- "Say it with flowers." SAY WHAT WITH FLOWERS?!

Do any of you have any fave or despised ad slogans...?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Another Film Suggestion

This is a wonderful film -- it turned out to be Canadian, to my surprise! -- taking place in New Delhi, India.

"Amal" is a simple movie name and serves as the name of the simple main character, who lives a simple, hardworking life.

There is a main story line, but several characters and their stories weave themselves into the main story in a "six degrees of separation" sort of way.

The movie is in whatever language -- Hindi? -- with English subtitles. Certain sections of the film are in spoken English, too.

I believe that there are people in the world like Amal. Watch the film and decide if you know any people like that as well.

Clicking on the title of this blog post will take you to the movie's site, so you can see the cast of characters, etc.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's *Snow* Not Winter Here

A couple months ago I announced that I'd rather endure a cold winter than a snowy winter.

Most people are known to disagree with me on that matter, but nonetheless, I had spoken.

And apparently someone up there was listening...

Okay, so we had a few really mild, wet snowfalls here and there, and a lot of sub-arctic temperatures here and there, but it isn't what I'd call a real Canadian winter.

And the 2010 Winter Olympics opening up in Vancouver tomorrow...Are the head honchos simply imagining snow is there for the skiiers and snowboarders, or have they put in a good word to weather headquarters -- and the fake snow makers?

What the f**k is Mother Nature thinking, switching gears and hitting places like Florida, Washington, Virginia and Texas with heavy-duty snowfalls and extreme weather conditions? Some of these places aren't even equipped to handle a frost or mild snowfall, much less a major downfall.

 Is Mother Nature laughing just about now, and looking down at me and saying in that very familiar-to-1939-movie-lovers: ["Don't worry...I haven't forgotten you yet there in reasonably dry Toronto"] "I'm going to get you, my pretty! And your little dog [Max] too!"

To that I say: "Bring it on, Mama Nature. I got my snow gear just waitin' for ya!!"

Boycott Mel Gibson

Boycott Mel Gibson

Hey, Dr. Robin, check this out!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Hi-Tech Kids

My youngest son, who is almost ten, wants to get a Facebook account. I tell him he's too young; he tells me a classmate already has an account.

Aren't his two email accounts enough? He can't even remember the password for one of them, so if I've sent him messages there, he can't retrieve them.

He asks me to send messages his way, so I find appropriate jokes and emails I get and forward them his way...simply to see him feel important that he has email.

My middle child, who turned twelve in August, has a couple email accounts, but refuses to get Facebook. She doesn't want her info "out there" and believes in privacy...and I'm proud of her for that. She gets annoyed when she sees me posting items about our life on my blog or on Facebook.

When she gets home from school she rushes upstairs "to check my emails." If her friends were in school, and she was in school, who the heck is sending her emails?!?

And after checking her emails, she watches TV show episodes on the computer until she's called to do her homework.

The kid hardly uses our landline telephone anymore; she plans her social activities via email messages back and forth or text messages. I always say, "Adina, can't you make a regular phone call anymore?"

And our eldest, who is 14 1/2, carries his cell phone around with him. He, too, rarely uses the landline, but receives calls via the cell, and makes his calls via the cell. He isn't so into emailing, but I do know he has a Facebook account. I check it once in a while and see his status is still simple-- "Yay, the Leafs won" or "The Raptors won!"

I'm afraid these kids will not only not know how to write in longhand anymore, due to the computer; will not know how to write letters to people, due to writing emails to people; will not know how to use a telephone anymore without texting or a cell phone. I'm nostalgic for "the good old days" and am often slow to change.

But then again, their hi-tech knowledge has helped me learn how to download computer items, has helped me work the digital camera, has helped me learn how to work the TV remotes. These little Einsteins of mine have their fingers on the pulse of technology and know how to use it.

Dosing Up

I just found a list I'd written about 2 or 3 years ago. It's a list of medications that my father had to take on a daily basis -- I'd told my mother to recite all the meds and that we'd put it on a spread sheet, in a smaller form that she could tote with her.

And tote she did -- to every medical appointment, to every visit to the emergency room and then repeating the list to every doctor who ever saw my father. Doses were altered, medications were altered, some removed, some replaced.

One callous doctor said point-blank to my mother that all my father's medications were keeping him alive!

This list had 13 items, most of which I've no clue what they were meant for:

1. Aspirin, 81 mg, a.m.
2. Novo-Diltiazem -- 240 mg. -- a.m.
3. PMS--Docusate Calcium -- a.m.
4. Domperidon -- 3x before meals
5. Flovent -- 2 puffs, twice daily
6. Neurontin -- 200 mg., morning and evening
7. Novo-Hydrzaide -- 12.5 mg. morning , 1/2 pill
8. Losec 20 -- 1 tablet a.m. (or Pariet , 2 tablets, 1 a.m., 1 pm)
9. Nitropatch -- o.6 on in the morning, off in the evening
10. Altace, Ratio Ramipril 10 mg. -- a.m. and p.m.
11. Senokot -- 2 tablets, pm.
12. Keppra-- 500 mg., morning and 5:00 in the evening
13. Nitro spray -- if needed

At some point soon after, those daily doses were down to 8 drugs, rather than 13. Whoopdie-doo.

There were several times in hospital that the doctors and pharmacists screwed around with the drugs and their doses at the expense of my father's well-being. Sounds ironic, doesn't it? But for a time he was doped up on too high a dosage of an anti-convulsive drug, that he became violent, had delusions... if it wasn't the opposite -- that he was in a semi catatonic state.

Horrible as it was to see the pharmacy that my father's night table had become, I thank G-d that these drugs did help sustain him to a great degree.

Indeed my father and his lengthy illnesses gave swift business to a certain neighborhood pharmacist. The frequent visits by my father and/or mother to the pharmacist helped develop a type of friendship -- if one can call the friendly visits just that -- and when my father died, and the pharamacist heard, he closed up his shop one afternoon to come and pay a shiva call. (he is not a Jew, but was born in East Jerusalem, and is a Christian, I believe) He respected my parents greatly and appreciated them in his life and wanted to pay his respects to our family.

I found this appropriate Chinese proverb to tie in to this blog post: "It is easy to get a thousand prescriptions, but hard to get one single remedy."

Yes, my father had to take countless meds in his lifetime, but in so many ways he healed himself time and time again...simply with his faith and his positive attitude. And he considered visits from his grandchildren to be "the best medicine of all."

I think Jackie Mason said something notable: "It's no longer a question of staying healthy. It's a question of finding a sickness you like."